Gimli son of Gloin hummed happily to himself as he carefully chipped a small fragment of stone no more than a hairsbreadth from the edge of a stalagmite in the Glittering Caves. He stepped back to admire his handiwork with a satisfied smile. The caves grew more beautiful every day. Then he frowned, pondering. Yes, he decided, it still needs one more adjustment…
He dimly overheard a slight commotion a few tunnels away but tuned it out, focusing his attention on the delicate rock in front of him. Ever so delicately, the Dwarf aligned his chisel. He held his breath and gently tapped it with the small hammer he held. Yes, perfect! Gimli exclaimed to himself with a proud grin.
"I see that you are as insane as ever, Master Dwarf," a light, musical voice said from behind him, causing the Dwarf to jump. He spun around and glared at Legolas.
"And just what are you doing here, Elf?" he asked with a dark frown.
Legolas looked up innocently from where he was sitting cross-legged on the smooth floor of the cave. "I had need to see Éomer, and thought perhaps to look in upon you while I was in Rohan," he replied calmly, mirth twinkling in his bright eyes over Gimli's surprise.
The Dwarf's frown deepened. "I meant, what are you doing in this cave? Someone would have fetched me—"
"And drag you away from your work?" Legolas shook his head. "I did not mean to intrude, Gimli. Simply to visit."
Gimli quickly started gathering his tools. "Then we shall visit outside," he said firmly, then muttered under his breath, "fool Elf, ought to know better."
"I am afraid that I do not understand," Legolas said coolly, not moving from his seated position.
Gimli glowered down at his friend. "You, Master Elf, are not supposed to be in any more caves," he informed his friend firmly. "I thought that I had made that clear."
Legolas's eyebrows shot up. "And so I am no longer to visit you in Aglarond?"
"Nay," he said sharply, "you are to visit me outside of Aglarond. What would ever possess you to enter a cave, you fool Elf?"
Legolas looked at him with incomprehension. "Elvellon," he said simply, "you are in the cave."
Gimli opened and shut his mouth a few times.
Legolas smirked. "You look like Peregrin Took when you do that," he informed his friend smugly.
"But—but," the Dwarf stammered, "your fear…"
Legolas shook his head. "Not of Aglarond, at least not here. There is much light and enough space that I am not unreasonably discomfitured." Then he smiled softly. "Here the small, dark spaces may be passed quickly, and I know that you will be there to lead the way."
Gimli swallowed hard and put a hand on the Elf's shoulder. He blinked away a sparkling of tears that formed in his eyes. "My friend—" he began, then fell silent, unable to continue. They smiled at each other; there was no need for words between them. They understood. The Dwarf smiled.
And that's it, everyone. It's over. I hope you all enjoyed the story and thank you for taking the time to read it, I really appreciate your interest. I especially want to say a great big thank you to Aranna Undomiel (sorry!), Katatonia, Alma's Muse, Quiet Infinity, Alatariel, Avalon Estel, Setrinan, Malara, SpencerBrown, Deana, Banbie Bunny, Lindele, Earendil, adsh, XXDragons-ShadowXX, werelemur, Mysterious Jedi, Dark Lady Arantraneth/DBD, Mr. Nozzers, Narwen Almiriel, Daughter of the Elvenking, Jebb, Piratica, grumpy, James, SirNotAppearing, MysticHeero, ElvenRanger13, Kawaii Elf Girl, permetaform, Ancient History, sad, P.L. Wynter, soshort, Arithon, Star-Stallion, hidden-maia, Cosmic Castaway, Badger Luver, kurafoxgirl, updatemonster, Slayer3, Nevaratoiel, and hopefully I didn't miss anyone. If I did, I feel really bad and let me know so I can fix it because you're so wonderful! Thank you all so much! Your reviews meant the world to me. They really encouraged me to keep going (and tormented me into finding the time to get this written quickly instead of lazing about forever!) and by the way, speaking of writing, thanks for all those lovely plot bunnies… Glerfindle loves Nuzgûl.
Broiled, fried, baked, or raw…
Reviewer Responses (for the last time…aw!):
Oh my god, you people, I love you. I really, really do. You are just so awesome. I was grinning like a sap the whole time I was reading those…and I know I'll grin just as big at the next ones, so let me thank you all in advance and smother you with hugs and smiles! Anyway…
Deana – um, yes, well…due to the evil internet death as mentioned previously, I wasn't really aware of that…um…anyway…I suggest catching your nose on its way down and reattaching it. They can come in handy, occasionally. "Just follow your nose," and all that. Thank you! Yep, it sure did. Poor Elf.
Quiet Infinity – That's okay, I forgive you! Yeah, it's a good thing the kid's a heavy sleeper. And…wow. That was like the awesomest dance ever. It puts my ewok dance of joy to shame! That was incredible!
Badger Luver – Hee hee, I love you too! Great review! Don't worry, I won't kill you; I'm a lazy-no-good-starving-artist, too! And don't worry—don't worry—I freak at anything hurting hands. I totally panic. That's why I put it in there; had to show that, so I scraped his knuckles a bit. It was a freak-out I could totally understand…but I would never REALLY hurt precious hands! Egads, no! shudders. What did I do? What did I do? Bwhahahaha! …er, that evil laugh kinda fell flat, as you definitely know what was done by now, but…yeah. Anyway, I hope the update was fast enough, and you can keep your moth—Glerfindle would just fry it anyway. Sigh! Hi Kitty, hope you enjoyed your nap! And I hope your day turns out good, too. :)
kurafoxgirl – Hee hee! Um, hopefully you'll be willing to forgive Gimli now that you've seen him being all sympathetic…'cause Legolas is here with his bow and he just said that you would be dead before your stroke fell and he doesn't look very amused… ;)
Jebb – You're evil! Archiving my plot nunnys? Augh! What will I do now? Well…I suppose I could write some of them…hmm… Thank goodness for Gimli indeed! And let me just tell you again, the fact that I actually got 200 reviews has made my life. Thank you.
Avalon – Oh no, not the emus! Run away, run away! Glerfindle, you traitor! You'll do as I say if you ever want to eat another fangirl again! Oh, don't think I can't mister—I'll take down my Legolas posters and then what would lure them in here for you to pounce on, huh? That's right, bub, you know you love me…mini-Balrogs, sigh… Um, please don't sic your emus on me? I updated, I did, I did! Please? (Oh, P.S. Glorfindel is mine! I have kidnapped him into Shadows Creeping and nothingyou can do will stop me my pretty—and your little emus, too!)
Alma – thank you; the vote of realism from you means a lot. Your reviews really helped out. Hope you enjoyed!
updatemonster – why thank you.
Aranna – Yup, funniest comedic duo this side of the janitor's closet! (Free plot bunny to anyone who can tell me what or who I'm referencing here…) Thank you for the aid. And Glerfindle really enjoyed those sweets, too. That's right, keep that bloody internet in line! Grrrr… I might end up writing up some of those "memories" someday…who knows when the Nuzgûl will strike next? ;)
Slayer3 – Aww…don't worry, no permanent damage to the Elf. He's all better now:)
Nevaratoiel – I know, cliffies are wonderful, and the worst three words in the English language are "to be continued," aren't they? I really appreciate the review, thanks for telling me:) Well, if you want more Legolas-goodness, I'll do my best to oblige! Thank you!
Narwen – Yes! I am definitely joining SPI! I love it! …Er, but you better run…Gimli, um, heard your comments about how they argue and, ah, well…axe-throwing, anyone? Okay, okay, Donkey, I pick you…and wow, that was a beautiful theory. You almost made my eyes get misty! (which is the equivalent of crying for "normal" and emotional people) Oooh, Glerfindle is cowering—you said fire extinguishers! Tee hee! I always love your ramblings. Please don't leave? sniff! It's so sad when stories end… Good job on those exams! I'm happy, I passed my math comp exam, which means no more math classes ever bwahahaha! Stay happy! Evil laughter forever:)
Alatariel – What, you mean the Elf and Dwarf didn't make fools of themselves? That would be a first…
I just want to thank all of you again for the insanity—I mean feedback. You really brightened my days. I'll miss you guys! Kisses to all, and good luck too:)
Yes, that really is the end. It's over now. But just for now! The nuzgûl will never leave me alone—especially with Jebb there to prod me with them—and I've already started working up another tale! No Eldarion in this one, but it's got just about everyone else that isn't in Valinor or the Shire—including everyone's favorite Elf and Dwarf! The first bit of that story should show up soon, and in the meantime I'm still working on Shadows Creeping for any who want some little Legolas angst.
Actually, all I really need to do before I can post the first bit of my new story is come up with a name for the city. I'm horrible with names, and no better at naming places than people. So if anyone has any brilliant ideas of a name for a city that exists in two parts—it's more of a nickname than it is a real name, and it was just adopted over time—the inner, old and well-built part; and the outer "tent city" that has gradually become a permanent fixture over the centuries, let me know, either here or at my homepage—more info there. Any bright ideas, leave it in a review or e-mail me, I would really appreciate it!
Thanks again everyone. Nai tiruvantel ar varyuvantel i valar tielyanna nu vilya.
P.S. Have now drawn a sketch to go with this story; you can find it at my homepage:)